Do strawberries make you think of Spring? I bet you these Strawberry Crumb Bars will! Spring has finally sprung here in North Carolina and I’m loving seeing “fresh” everywhere! …… fresh spring herbs like thyme, rosemary, chives and mint shooting out tiny, verdant leaves in the midst of pots of dead brown twigs in my herb garden. Fresh young, tender leaves of lettuce of every shape and variety reaching up to the warm spring sun, fresh spears of succulent green asparagus, bundled and piled high, greeting me at the grocery store. And when I checked out the sales flyers this week, each one was boasting great prices on fresh strawberries. Although local berries are just beginning to emerge from their long winter’s nap and are still small and green, there are plenty of beautiful berries at the market. I can’t resist picking up a carton or two each time I shop and I’m using them in a zillion ways these days. We enjoy them for breakfast with fresh fruit and granola or sprinkled with a bit of sugar for a delicious dessert, like on these fun Schaumtortes or on a silky smooth cheesecake. They’re also wonderful pureed in salad dressings, scattered on salads and, I know it sounds crazy, but a few strawberries sprinkled on top of this pizza might just be the most delicious thing we’ve ever had the pleasure of eating. I love to make strawberry jam in the spring and stash it away to enjoy all year long. I’ve even made soup, salsa and a glaze for salmon with them.
Are you beginning to get the picture that we’re huge strawberry fans here at The Café? Yup, and you’ll be sure to see more strawberry recipes like these as we make our way though this lovely season. This past week, in honor of the lovely weather we’ve been enjoying, I decided to make a pan of Strawberry Crumb Bars. With family visiting, I thought these would be a fun treat to nibble on. Everyone seemed to love them and they disappeared quickly. Three layers of deliciousness; a moist, tender cake-like base topped with a layer of sweet, fresh strawberries and finished off with a thick topping of buttery crumbs. Definitely a winner and a thumbs up from the whole family!
Don’t let the season slip by without making a pan (or two) of these. They’re great to tote to picnics, parties and family get-togethers and they’d make a delicious offering on a brunch buffet. Bon appetit!
- CRUMB TOPPING
- 12 tablespoons 6 oz.) butter, melted,
- 1 ½ cup sugar
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour, (spooned and leveled), plus more for pan
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- STRAWBERRY LAYER
- 2 ½ cups diced strawberries, cut into ¼ inch pieces
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- ⅓ cup flour
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup butter, room temperature
- 2 cup confectioners' sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350˚ F. Spray a 9 x 13-inch pan with baking spray. Line with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on long sides. Spray parchment paper lightly. Place prepared pan on a sheet pan (this will help keep the bottom from getting too brown as this does bake for an hour).
- To make the streusel, whisk together butter, sugar and salt. Add flour and mix with a fork until large crumbs form. If mixture is too wet and crumbs are not forming, add a bit more flour (this can vary due to the water content of your butter.) Refrigerate until ready to use.
- For the strawberry layer combine strawberries, sugar and flour in a medium bowl. Set aside. Don't try to use food processor, as the berries will turn into a liquid mess
- In another medium bowl, whisk 1½ cups flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside
- For the cake layer, beat butter and confectioners' sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Then beat in eggs, one at a time.
- With mixer on low, beat in vanilla, then flour mixture.
- Spread batter in prepared pan. Sprinkle with strawberry mixture and top with streusel.
- Bake cake until golden and a toothpick inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs attached, 55 to 65 minutes. Cover with foil during last 15-20 minutes of baking if the top is getting too brown. Let cool completely in pan. Using paper overhang, lift cake from pan. Cut into bars. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired.
Adapted (a lot!) from Martha Stewart